This Blog

This blog is dedicated to explorations of spirit, life, adventure, and people. I hope that it encompasses much more than the actions of people, but rather creates a more complete picture of what it means to be an athlete and a person in the outdoor community.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Middle Feather Explorations

As paddlers we engage in a battle between perception and reality. The better you get the more that line blurs. What is possible? What is safe? What is reasonable and prudent? What is fun? These are all questions that are answered with action. We portage or we do not, we put on or we do not, we hike out or we do not.

These battles are especially present in a big water year when you have a choice to go kayaking at precipitous flows or back down and not go kayaking much at all. Many runs open up at higher flows with a few rapids getting much harder and many getting simpler but bigger. It is easy to commit if you can see the river from the road.

These concerns grow further when considering remote, steep canyoned, multi-day runs. The middle feather is 34 miles long, typically takes 2-3 days, and has two foot bridges across it. It was one of the original rivers designated to be wild and scenic in 1968. The hike out is at minimum 18 miles with a section through 8 foot deep snow.

The MF Feather has lost lots of allure in the new school paddling era. There are no waterfalls greater that 8 feet. The shuttle takes three hours. It just doesn't have the hype it once had as "The best multi-day self support trip in California". Now there is Dinkey, Upper cherry, Royal Gorge, etcetera. It is a shame, because it is like kayaking 49 to Bridgeport for three days straight.

There is much heresay and mythology in the kayaking community. We had heard of people running the MF at 4-5 thousand with some swims, some say it was between 5-6. Some people said that people casually ran it at 4500. We had to find out for ourselves.

The highest that I had run the MF Feather was 2000 cfs. On the day we put in it was at 3700, nearly doubling my highest ascent. With the thought that it is our life and passion to push our own boundaries we put on, hoping for the best.

Morgan drops into the first distinguishable rapid.

We pushed through the first gorge and it was great. Normally a bumpy, pinny, slow stretch was turned into a fun, pushy, fast day 1.

We had some problems on day 2, turns out that hole is stickier than it looks.

One of the best boofs on the MF.

Great rapid not to tell people about. I call it secrets.

Helicopter. The easiest flow yet.(sorry about the blurry photos, at this point I had water on the lens)

The flow was amazing, it was big, channelized, and pushy. Now we are one step closer to know the true flow window for the middle feather.

Now it is time to do it again 1000 cfs higher.

1 comment:

  1. SAWEEET! Looks great! The first two photos are my favorite. I'm in for next time.

    (there's a broken link on the fourth photo)